George & Wendy Show

Wendy Parker

The high price of notoriety

| September 12, 2012

I never thought in a million years I’d be saying this, but we’re on the cover of a magazine. The edition is dedicated to driver shout-outs, and my husband and I somehow ended up on the front of it. I got to say a bunch of nice stuff about him, and he got to stand in front of his truck and look scary. It was a pretty neat experience, we had a real photo shoot and everything. The shoot was actually done two months ago, during the hell-hottest days Ohio has seen in years. If it hadn’t been for the photographer (shout-out to George Anderson!) it wouldn’t have been a pleasant experience at all.

It’s weird enough to see your picture on the inside of a magazine. My byline in the printed version of Overdrive gives me a little shock every time I see it. It’s a completely strange experience to walk into a truck stop and see a whole rack of magazines with your picture on the front.

I was caught off guard the first time I saw it, and felt like I was dreaming. Then I got really paranoid that I may have a booger hanging out of my nose, and someone would recognize me and tell everyone, “Yeah, I saw her in person, she had a giant booger hanging out of her nose.” It was very stressful. I don’t know how Mariah Carey does it. She must have someone on booger duty constantly.

No one recognizes me because I’m always wearing a ball cap and sunglasses when we’re traveling. This isn’t to be incognito, it’s to cover bed hair and baggy eyes. My husband is a lot more recognizable because of the big red beard. He’s been asked to autograph copies of the magazine, and it freaks him out every time. I think it’s hilarious.

We walked into a TA in Tennessee a few days after the issue was on the stands. He had gotten a couple of, “Don’t I know you?” looks in the parking lot. I had on my handy ball cap and sunglasses, no one looked twice at me. I started toward the bathroom while he waited at the fuel desk for his receipt.

“WELL LOOK-A-THERE! THAT’S THE GUY ON THE MAGAZINE OVER THERE!!”

The lady behind the fuel desk was completely excited and loudly announcing it to everyone in the general vicinity. I ran for the bathroom.

“YOU’RE HIM, AREN’T YOU? YOU’RE THAT GUY ON THE MAGAZINE!”

By this time, everyone within an entire city block had stopped to stare at my poor husband. I felt for him as I quietly slipped into the bathroom to watch from afar.

“Yes ma’am, that’s me. My wife is actually the one who writes all that stuff, I’m just in the pictures.”

I could see the commiserative look other guys gave him, the “Poor guy, his crazy wife got him into this and now look what he has to go through” look. I could also see him motioning me to come to the fuel desk, but I pretended I couldn’t. I stealthily circumvented the whole scene and slipped out through the restaurant while hubs was busy signing copies of the pin-up poster for his fuel desk girlfriend.

His neck and face were the same color as his Ohio State hat when he got back into the truck.

“What the hell?! Why didn’t you come up there? You just left me! I was embarrassed as hell!”

“Oh come on! You know you loved it. I’ll bet she slips you free coffee from now on.”

“Whatever. All those guys in there probably think I’m a dick or something. You’re the one who started this stuff, you should be the one signing autographs.”

“Babe, I would never have started this without you. It’s a total team effort. Besides, I think it’s funny as hell to watch you get all embarrassed.”

“It’s not funny.”

“I can’t talk to strangers. I don’t have anyone on booger patrol. I’ll just scare people away.”

“You know, I feel like I know what you’re talking about and then I realize I have absolutely no idea what you mean most of the time. It’s like water skiing with a rubber band. About the time I catch up, you zing past me in a different direction.”

“Aww. That’s sweet, babe.”

“It wasn’t really a compliment.”

“I know. I love you too.”